Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh

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Prince William
WilliamHenryDukeOfGloucester.jpg
The Duke of Gloucester painted ca. 1780 by Johann Zoffany.
Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Successor Prince William Frederick
Spouse Maria Walpole
Issue
Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Princess Caroline of Gloucester
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester
Full name
William Henry
House House of Hanover
Father Frederick, Prince of Wales
Mother Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Born (1743-11-25)25 November 1743
Leicester House, Westminster
Died 25 August 1805(1805-08-25) (aged 61)
Gloucester House, Westminster
Burial 4 September 1805
St George's Chapel, Windsor

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (William Henry;[1] 25 November 1743 – 25 August 1805), was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of George II and a younger brother of George III.

Early life[edit]

Prince William[2] was born at Leicester House, London. His parents were Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, then Princess of Wales. He was christened at Leicester House eleven days later. His godparents were his paternal uncle by marriage, The Prince of Orange (for whom someone stood proxy); his paternal uncle, The Duke of Cumberland; and his paternal aunt, The Princess Amelia.[3] As a grandchild of the sovereign, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince William at birth. He was fourth in the line of succession at birth.

Prince William later joined the British Army. His father died in 1751, leaving the Prince's elder brother, Prince George, heir-apparent to the throne. He succeeded as George III on 25 October 1760, and created William Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught on 19 November 1764.[4] He had been made a Knight of the Garter on 27 May 1762, and invested on 22 September of that year.[5]

Marriage[edit]

The Duke was Warden of Windsor Forest and resided at Cranbourne Lodge. He was most known for his secret marriage in 1766 to Maria Walpole, the Dowager Countess of Waldegrave, an illegitimate granddaughter of Sir Robert Walpole, from nearby Frogmore House. This marriage only became known to the King after the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772. They lived at St Leonard's Hill in Clewer, near Windsor, and had three children:

Princess Caroline died aged nine months following a smallpox inoculation, intended to protect her from the disease.[6] She had been christened privately on 22 July 1774 - her godparents were The Duchess of Gloucester (her mother), The Hereditary Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her paternal aunt) and The Hereditary Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her uncle by marriage).[3] As great-grandchildren in the male line of George II, Prince William's children were styled Highness from birth and used the territorial designation of Gloucester in conjunction with their princely styles. After William Frederick married his cousin Princess Mary, he and his surviving sister Sophia received the style of Royal Highness.

British Royalty
House of Hanover
Quarterly, I Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or impaling Or a lion rampant within a double-tressure flory-counter-flory Gules; II Azure three fleurs-de-lys Or; III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent; IV tierced per pale and per chevron, I Gules two lions passant guardant Or, II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure, III Gules a horse courant Argent, overall an escutcheon Gules charged with the crown of Charlemagne Or
George II
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess of Orange
Princess Amelia
Princess Caroline
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Cassel
Louise, Queen of Denmark
Grandchildren
Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick
George III
Edward, Duke of York
Princess Elizabeth
William Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Henry, Duke of Cumberland
Princess Louisa
Prince Frederick
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark
Great-grandchildren
Princess Sophia of Gloucester
William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester

Illegitimate issue[edit]

Portrait of the Duke of Gloucester in 1804 by Sir William Beechey.

The Duke also had an illegitimate daughter by his mistress Lady Almeria Carpenter, a daughter of the first Earl of Tyrconnell.

  • Louisa Maria La Coast (6 January 1782 Esher, Surrey – 10 February 1835 Bossall, Yorkshire), who was married on 29 December 1803 in Norwich, Norfolk to Godfrey Macdonald, 11th Baronet Macdonald of Slate, later the 3rd Baron Macdonald of Slate. They had three children born before their marriage (legitimized by Scottish law, but not by Irish law) and ten children born after their marriage. (A previous marriage in Scotland was considered of doubtful validity). These children and their posterity are the only descendants of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

Later life[edit]

The Duke was appointed colonel of the 13th Regiment of Foot in 1766. In 1767 he was promoted to major-general and made colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards.[7] He later transferred to the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and he became a Field Marshal on 12 October 1793.

He served as the thirteenth Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin from 1771 to 1805.

He died at Gloucester House in London.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 14 November 1743 – 19 November 1764: His Royal Highness Prince William[1]
  • 19 November 1764 – 25 August 1805: His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh

Honours[edit]

Arms[edit]

William was granted use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of five points, the centre bearing a fleur-de-lys azure, the other points each bearing a cross gules.[8]

Ancestors[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 14 November 1743 Died: 25 August 1805
Military offices
Preceded by
Harry Pulteney
Colonel of the 13th Regiment of Foot
1766–1767
Succeeded by
James Murray
Preceded by
The Earl of Rothes
Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards
1767–1770
Succeeded by
The Earl of Loudoun
Preceded by
The Earl Ligonier
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1770–1805
Succeeded by
The Duke of York and Albany
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
1764–1805
Succeeded by
Prince William Frederick
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Connaught
1764–1805
Succeeded by
Prince William Frederick